State Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Palatka, told Creative Loafing that he will bring back a bill that bans abortion in the state of Florida, providing only an exception to save the life of the mother. The bill would also make performing an abortion a felony.
Creative Loafing reports,
Though not yet introduced, Van Zant told CL earlier this month that he will bring back the Florida for Life Act before the official session begins in Tallahassee in January. The lawmaker from Keystone Heights says if his bill were to pass, doctors would go to jail for performing an abortion.
“Absolutely. That would be a murder,” he said in phone conversation. “He would be involved in the death of the lives of an infant child and certainly there would be penalties.”
Van Zant, an ordained Baptist minister, has unsuccessfully introduced a similar bill multiple times. He has referred to the measure as the “Florida for Life Act.”
In February, The Florida Independent’s Virginia Chamlee reported that Van Zant’s bill was one of the more extreme anti-abortion bills introduced last session:
In addition to stating that “all life comes from the Creator and begins at conception,” Van Zant’s act also includes language explicitly stating that the United States Supreme Court is not qualified to “determine, establish, or define the moral values of the people of the United States and specifically for the people of Florida.”
The Florida for Life Act also states that the Florida Constitution “contains the sovereign peoples’ acknowledgment of the Creator as the source of constitutional liberty” and that the U.S. Constitution expresses no qualifications for states to “protect life in a manner consistent with the moral consensus of the people, and reflecting the peoples’ belief in a Creator.”
Eighteen bills aimed at limiting abortion rights and access in the state were introduced during the 2011 legislative session. Four of those bills, not including Van Zant’s measure, were eventually signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. The Legislature also passed an amendment last session that would reverse a state constitutional right to privacy and outlaw public funding for abortion.
While many anti-abortion activists want to wait for Roe v. Wade to be overturned before imposing all-out bans on abortion, Van Zant tells Creative Loafing that he is impatient:
“It’s simply not illegal to have an abortion, that’s the problem,” he says “It’s not unconstitutional. There’s nothing in the Constitution that gives the mother the right to murder their unborn child. Or a doctor. This is a scam on the American public by abortionists and by the population control movement. Eugenics and others who are out there from gosh, since the Civil War, I mean we’ve seen it over and over and over for decades and decades, and we have the abortion movement in our nation that is no more than the population control mechanism of the fed govt. because they fund them and support them.”
The Legislature has already introduced a bill written by the Florida Catholic Conference that would redefine the death of a “viable fetus” as the death of an “unborn child.” The bill would also change laws for vehicular manslaughter involving a pregnant woman. Another bill introduced by state Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, would restrict “the circumstances in which an abortion may be performed in the third trimester or after viability.” Flores’ bill also pushes forward a handful of anti-abortion measures that did not make it through last session, including targeted laws for abortion providers and a wait time for women seeking an abortion.